James and Josh, Oral History Project Interns

As the end of the summer draws close, the Oral History Project is winding down for the year. Interviews will still be conducted during the year as opportunities present themselves, but the bulk of work conducted by interns will be put on hold for next summer.  To reiterate what I recently posted on the Dumbarton […]

Dumbarton Oaks Gardens: The Fountain Terrace

Maybe it was because it was dusk that I found myself feeling lost, even though I wasn’t lost at all. Gray powdery light silvered, softly, everything it touched, not to pacify it, but as if, with gentle correction, to rout matter altogether—trees, shrubs, and closing flowers, like so many eyelids nestled in sleep’s calyx, the stonework in […]

Members of the 2009 symposium, "Past Presented: A Symposium on the History of Archaeological Illustration" (abstracts of which can be found at http://www.doaks.org/research/pre-columbian/scholarly-events/past-presented-a-symposium-on-the-history-of-archaeological-illustration/doaks-pco-symposium-2009-10-09-abstracts)

If the scholars here at Dumbarton Oaks are the lifeblood of the institute as we know it—the necessities, the aerators of resources, the vital signs—then the symposia are the institute’s great lungs, chambers of commerce between the internal and external, between one scholar and her peers, between Dumbarton Oaks itself and a broader community: the […]

Joan Southcote-Aston in the former Dumbarton Oaks Princeton Index Reading Room, 1965.

Were you to read through all of the transcribed interviews in the Dumbarton Oaks Oral History Project, there is one person in particular who could not fail to fascinate you, yet who is maybe, at last, too ephemeral to apprehend. D.O. Senior Fellow Herbert Kessler thinks that this woman—who underwent what can only be described […]

Exterior, Philip Johnson Pavilion

Philip Johnson, perhaps best known for his Glass House, played an important role at Dumbarton Oaks by designing what is often called the Philip Johnson Pavilion, the gallery that houses the Robert Woods Bliss Collection of Pre-Columbian Art. The description of the pavilion from the Dumbarton Oaks website describes the back story of the building: In […]

Fletcher's Castoria advert, 1950.

Recently, at the Georgetown Flea Market, the father-in-law of Director Jan Ziolkowski purchased a new artifact of relevance for the Dumbarton Oaks Archives, one allied neither to the Byzantine, nor the garden and landscape, nor the pre-Columbian components of the institution. In fact, at first glance, the artifact seems outrageously distant from the Dumbarton Oaks Research […]

Oleg Grabar

Oleg Grabar, the great Islamic art and architecture historian, moved to the United Staes in 1948 when his father, André Grabar, took the position of Director of Studies at Dumbarton Oaks. At that time, he was eighteen years old. A prolific writer who shaped western perception of middle eastern Islamic culture, Mr. Grabar was a member of […]

M Street, Georgetown

Though Dumbarton Oaks may feel “otherworldly”, as Margaret Dawson, an associate of Mildred Bliss, has it—what with its self-sufficiently immured Arcadian vistas and charmingly, necessarily arcane scholarly foci—no research institute is a world unto itself; even D.O. is part of the main, in rich and vibrant commerce with its environs and neighbors. As Georgetowners congregate […]

Dumbarton Oaks Music Room

The Friends of Music program has long made Dumbarton Oaks a staple of the Washington music scene. Started in the 1930s when the Blisses informally invited guests to enjoy performances in their wonderful music room and formalized in 1946 with the creation of the Friends of Music program, Dumbarton Oaks was known for sponsoring some […]

Alexander Kazhdan

Few individuals were as influential to the field of Byzantine Studies during the past century as Alexander Kazhdan. Kazhdan, a Russian scholar, immigrated to the United States in 1978 after it became clear that Soviet censorship was limiting his ability to publish his research.  While he is perhaps best known for his work on the Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, he […]

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